The Power of Infographics

Capturing imagery + text in an intertwined relationship is fascinating work. There’s something about mingling elements, contrasting colours, and purely expressing a message that excites me.

Infographics are a great example of this type of communication. Well done work leaves me breathless (in a good way). So, to jump right into it, here are some things to consider when creating powerful infographics.

First, a basic definition:

in·fo·graph·ic

/ˌinfōˈɡrafik/

noun

An infographic (information graphic) is a representation of information in a graphic format designed to make the data easily understandable at a glance.

Why do we use them?

Infographics are a great way to communicate ideas quickly and effectively. They help to simplify the process of presenting a message or data and help to establish connections, patterns, and relationships that allow us, as the viewer, to gather specific information.

Why are they important?

Poor content incites boredom. What’s poor content?

Anything that’s too wordy, difficult to understand, or mind-numbingly full of roundabout detail. And it’s not about getting a quick fix. Some of us—me on occasion—enjoy digesting a mouthful of words. Still, no one can deny that pictures make everything easier to take in! 

In 2019, 74% of marketing content contained a visual element. That’s not surprising, considering a whopping 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Leaving us to believe that when you come across visually appealing content, you are much more likely to retain it. You might even share it with someone else after you’ve frolicked in its delight. 

Shareability is huge.

Taking inspiration from that which is shareable is also a thing.

I often create based on how much I liked LOVED something. I am graphically illuminated so much easier these days with all the impressive infographics to learn from!

They’re important, guys, for so many different reasons. But to summarize—infographics are important because they help us tell a story in a way that’s accessible to our audience.

Just the words below will let you know why.

Words that your infographics should be

What’s the blox. way to create infographics?

Follow these steps:

1 – Find an appropriate ‘chunk’ of content you would like to translate pictorially, or that is so dang interesting, it’s already sparking imagery in your head.

2 – Follow your brand guidelines—typeface, colour, spacing, tone etc.

3 – Create to your heart’s content but make sure each element flows into the next. Continuity is critical, or you risk altering the message or even worse, spreading an inconsistent idea.

4 – Aim to make your infographics attention-grabbing and playful. People are much more likely to engage if they’re looking at something that incites positive emotion.

5 – Incorporate text carefully and precisely The text you add should uplift and reinforce your main message. Make sure it supports the imagery you are using!

Now, the fun part.

Here are some infographics I created for Clearbridge Business Solutions.

I am so excited to share these because designing them was such an enjoyable experience. I feel like I achieved what I was going after—visually describing our work and what we want to be known for (our #bestwork). I hope you like them! If you have any suggestions for modifications, let me know, I am always happy to make things #better!

Yearning for more design content? Check out these blog posts:

A Design Thinking Process

Blogging Graphic Design Process

Logo Design

Why I Love Asynchronous Communication (a.k.a. Emails)

I love to write, and emails are a breath of fresh air.

No editing.
No fancy words.
No issues over length.
No need for profundity.

It has been almost five years since I left Bell Mobility to pursue a career in marketing, and one thing that has drastically changed is how often I communicate via email.

I miss the simplicity of it all.
I miss reaching out to my clients daily.
I miss the back-and-forth motion that builds connection.

At Bell, I had so many great relationships; I used email to build better ones along the way. It was just so damn efficient. Templates allowed the writing to take shape quickly. In mere minutes, I was sending off concise and compelling messages. Over and over again. Each email was re-read once, at most twice, and then sent so I could continue to the next case. It was a beautiful workflow, and it was all supported by Salesforce.

The strategy behind it? Starting, stopping, continuing. Perpetually. The true definition of email really—asynchronous. This is also marketing. For a later topic!

And by the way, I am trying to write more like Seth Godin. Also, finding my way back to my university days. My favourite professor and mentor, Paul Woodrow, graded an essay I wrote on the fallacies of Coca-Cola, commenting in tiny writing and bright green ink, “Swift and punchy, Chona!”

So begets my email manifesto –

I will always try to write swift and punchy. 

If I can remember to, that is.

Alas, I have a pop quiz for y’all.

I want you to decide which entry below is authentic, meaning not edited. And which one is “fake”, as in completely and utterly revised from its original style + tone.

How can you tell?
What gives it away?
Which is written better?

Ah, so many questions to ponder, but if only we had more time.

Off to bed, now, enjoy the exercise!

Entry 1

For all my years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, some of my fondest memories included writing emails. I loved how fluid and uncomplicated it was to craft messages on the spot without spending copious amounts of time editing. I would not mind working on some ideas to “wow” our current and prospective customers with something easy to read, memorable, and impactful!

Entry 2

I spent many years as a Corporate Account Manager at Bell, crafting friendly and professional emails. I thought it was so exciting (yup, I love communication!) to be able to write something on the spot that didn’t require any editing. It’s an art form really. Would love to work on some ideas to incorporate more emails into how we communicate with our customers.

From Job Hunt to Employment – My First Week and Journey Joining Clearbridge 

Empowering you to do your best work.

Job hunting can be gruelling. For six months, I searched for the perfect fit. I did everything I could to embrace the energy, excitement and engagement that comes with it, but frankly, I was exhausted. Each step required work. Hard work. It felt like a fight for my future. I was gaining momentum, but I did not feel empowered. I wanted to make positive decisions that would bring me closer to achieving my goals. So I created a mission statement to give me a sense of purpose. I added it to my resume with gusto – 

My vision as a marketer is to empower and inspire people to make a difference in their daily lives

These words, within my experience, proposed change as a way to improve and move forward. Suddenly, I was motivated to find the next step in my career and not just a new job. Suddenly, I was searching for similar words in job descriptions as a way to feed out mismatched opportunities. I felt like I was in control. By developing this meaningful statement, I was working on myself. I started to see that helping others was important to me, and I wanted to find work that would help me grow into a person who could Make Change Happen.

Then I came across a job posting for Clearbridge Business Solutions

Making my routine move, I visited their website. A sentence, written in white, spread across the front page drew me in. Helping you do your best work. It reminded me of my mission statement! I envisioned the word empowering substituting the word helping and knew at that moment that my marketing mind was intrigued. Then I thought, what is my best work? The answer to that? Me. I decided right then and there that Clearbridge was invested in this tagline—they want to empower their customers to do their best work and employees to be the best versions of themselves. This brief exercise in recognizing worth drove me to apply, and the rest? Keep reading.

#bestwayspossible

We always have a choice and the option to take the first step. In the context of job hunting, if we choose the best option, that is, making positive decisions that bring us closer to achieving our goals, then we are empowering ourselves. The concept of connection becomes a critical building block here. Connection is about linking two entities that work better together (think: peanut butter & jelly). When you take time to recognize a connection (they stick so well together) and then work toward building that relationship (how many versions of a pb & j sandwich could you make), you are creating the best ways possible to put yourself in a favourable circumstance (eating the pb & j sandwich), and there is nothing more empowering than that (delicious).

Learning to see

Since becoming a marketer, I’ve been inspired by the work of Seth Godin. He says you can’t be seen until you learn to see, and this was my experience applying for the Marketing Coordinator position at Clearbridge.

My first interaction was with Amanda, the People Operations Coordinator. Bright and outgoing, she started our conversation with a compliment. Now, how often would that be the way to begin an interview? I was drawn to this approach. She acknowledged me (creativity and all), and I appreciated that. Acknowledging or demonstrating gratitude and acceptance is one of the best ways to get to know someone (am I right Amanda?).

After a spirited discussion about my interests, work history and marketing experience, Amanda reinforced our connection through her use of positive language and overall eagerness to empower me through the next step. I was impressed and wanted to learn more about the position and the company. I was starting to see what Clearbridge was about! She scheduled a meeting with the CEO (Ryan) and Operations Manager (Allison) early the next day.

The interview went smoothly, and I noticed something about Ryan and Allison. They were both contemplative, friendly, and engaged. There were moments when I got stuck on a few questions—I get nervous. I used these opportunities to find inward answers and show my resourcefulness. There was a lot of feedback. It felt like we were all learning from each other. By the end of the interview, we were smiling pretty hard, and for the first time in a long time, I felt seen.

I returned to work feeling ecstatic about the new connections I had made. It felt like they were offering me the opportunity to take my career to the next level, focus on what mattered the most, and grow as a person and creative marketer. Minutes later, I received a phone call from Amanda. To my delight, they offered me the position!

Finding #better

Doing better is often described as arriving home. This is what I felt when I joined the team at Clearbridge. Suddenly, there was a better space for me to dream and create (more peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, right). I was welcomed into a cool, bustling office filled with natural sunlight and a sense of possibility. During my first week, it felt like each day was a chance to do better and become a better person. Someone my peers could rely on. I learned that my true calling was not just about fulfilling a lifelong dream or pursuing an arbitrary passion. It was about being connected with the right people and being in the right place at the right time. 

Sitting at my new workstation, I leaned back into my ergonomic chair and beamed. 

When you know something is just right, you know it is (I can’t stop with the pb & j references!). But there are a lot of clues that can help you see better. 

Here are some I can take away from my first week at Clearbridge:

  • When the team takes time to put you through a well-thought-out onboarding process, you know they are devoted to empowering you, helping you feel ready to take on the responsibilities of your new role.
  • Working in a space that promotes collaboration for someone with creative inclinations is living the dream. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
  • Joining a company that embraces change is everything. This especially matters when you’re creative because ideation thrives in a facilitative environment. If I’m able to grow creatively, I know I will become a better marketer and, in turn, can create and develop the best ideas because I am part of a group of people now who value that too.
  • Feedback is essentially a means of trust. It allows us to discover possibilities, and at the same time, we earn the right to discover our peers’ communication styles. Once we unlock this type of interaction, we can evolve as human beings and accomplish larger goals, like I’ll be honest—changing the world!

In pursuit of innovation

Seth Godin says, “The first step on the path to making things better is to make better things.” This is now my truth since joining Clearbridge.

I’ve always been driven and ambitious. From a very young age, I partook in various extracurricular activities, from public speaking to creative writing and sign language classes to competitions with my classmates on who could act out The Babysitters Club book series with the most panache. Life back then was always about showing the world who I was and what I was capable of.

In my first week at Clearbridge, I feel like that kid again, taking on my dreams as if there were no limitations. I’ve also learned a thing or two about communication strategy. For one, you need a dedicated team that wants to make change happen for anything to improve. You also need to be laser-focused on outcomes and putting the best systems in place to win in every situation. We must constantly be challenged to innovate in our domain, then share our knowledge with one another, our customers, and partners.

We are doers

From snacks of every kind (lots and lots of chips, locally-made ice cream, and most critically, Phil & Sebastian coffee) to a business book library, the environment at Clearbridge supports doing. There’s no hiding in a cubicle as if you didn’t exist. It’s more like—look around you and see. See everyone and everything in its place. I’ve already started working on a social media strategy that will educate and engage our audience around technology, helping them find pertinent information (hello cybersecurity), how-to-dos, tips, tricks, and hacks that every person can find handy. I am also working on a company manual that entails everything from branding guidelines to who we are to our communication strategy. It will be a living document and serve as an introduction for future Clearbridgers.

Building great relationships with great communication

So, it all comes down to this—through empowerment, connection, communication, and the desire to do better (and find the best ways possible), we can succeed in work and life. I know that’s a big statement to make, but since joining the team here at Clearbridge, I feel that is the journey I am on. What’s more, I am starting to build strong relationships founded on intention. We are all here to do great work. We all want to understand that. I hope my time will be productive, meaningful and filled with positive transformation for Clearbridge and me.

How did you feel when starting a new job and what made you think it was the right choice? Share your comments; we would love to hear them!

Learning Your ABCs – A Quick Guide to Effective Communication Practices

Effective communication is simple, straightforward, and accurate. 

a

b

c

It follows a linear path and is easy to digest. 

a a

b b

c c

Still, in its best forms, it can empower and inspire us to uncover new ways to respond to business demands and challenges. This is change!

a b c 

For example, by understanding what type of communication drives our customers to choose us over the competition and then using that data to promote growth, we can harness communication to cultivate opportunity.

a b c 

a b c 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Be self-aware and understand the need to adapt your message to your audience
  • Communicate what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you are going to get there
  • Build a system or process, then be accountable and track your progress
  • Focus on transparency, empathy and consistency to elevate trust 
  • Create opportunities for learning and development
  • Practice active listening to understand and feel the situation
  • Share your milestones, challenges, concerns and victories 

How do you develop an effective communication strategy? What are some important values that support your communicative work?

But Local First Facebook Ad

The ‘support local’ movement is a force driving change worldwide. It moves people to want to purchase fresh, healthy products from farmers. It creates a connection between shoppers, where we can ignite conversations to examine how we’re doing our part and why it’s so important. Products are showing up more readily and in places where you least expect to see them. Overall, there is a feeling of togetherness, kindness, and open-mindedness that helps promote awareness and captures the interest of new, existing, and prospective customers.

I wanted to create a fun digital ad that spoke to the nature of the ‘support local’ concept, one that explores options (expressed using a carousel format), eliminates predisposition (articulated in the ad copy), and ultimately grants us the ability to choose (the call-to-action ‘but local first’) – take action (decide what you want to eat for breakfast) or take action through inspiration (are your eggs local? Well, you can get them laid the same day of delivery! How awesome is that!). The inspiration trickles through in a matter of seconds affecting all those involved (conveyed through various images, colours, animation, and the image of a family). As individuals watching the ad, we feel more attuned to thinking about what’s on our plates, how it got there, where it comes from, and why our consumption habits can negatively or positively impact the planet. The focus remains on the following values –

Support local

Empower people

Help the planet

Grow the community

What are your thoughts on this ad? If I could make one change, I would use a graphic of a globe in place of the farming graphic (at the end of the video). Does it speak to you and make you feel empowered to support local? Let me know your thoughts; open to discussing with you!

11 – Tripping

Daisy was always looking for inspiration, the appearance of cursive writing or the look of a padded, bulky knit sweater featuring crimson and indigo animal characters like Filburt. Anything creative, really, would do.

The day she noticed something, she quizzically peered into a bathroom mirror, hoping because she was in the large stall, her sweater would reverse. 

Utterly distracted, Daisy made a note never to do it again.

“My progress has become insuperable from all the months of writing exact-sized phrases and headlines with five words or less.” Daisy thought fast while twiddling her phone in her hand.

“Have things changed in A Day? What were things like when I first started anyhow?” she thought. “Well, I was definitely more satisfied. Had a bounce to my step, could care less about the matchy-ness of my outfits. I also felt more powerful, like people were listening to me, learning from me, and so on.”

Stroking her phone, Daisy continued, “However, today, everything is an exercise—an exercise in recalling (all types included).” Distracted, she goes on, “I have great hair, and my skin is young, it seems. On that note, ageing has not necessarily imparted more wisdom or money in my purse.”

She was always digressing.

Back home, Chona grabbed her fire orange Frank & Oak bucket bag and booked it out the door. She was late, again. Always leaving the house ten minutes post-shower. She hopped into her 2008 white Rogue and took off toward the light. 

The road was slick, and rain dripped down hard, like her binary code pleated skirt that streamed neon pink zeros and ones from her waist down to her thighs. 

She hated driving, though. It was dangerous in Elevententeen, and she knew one day it would kill her. Still, she cranked the radio and listened to old 90s songs like The Cranberries’ Linger. She hummed this tune imagining it more regal played on the baby grand piano at her dad’s house. 

When she sat back to play, his gigantic TV wouldn’t let her use the old music books, so she had to carefully balance grade 8 Royal Conservatory in volumes six, seven, eight and ten. The chords? They prevented her from falling. 

Daisy’s next big project was sitting in her bag. She put it in there to prevent its glorious shimmer from stirring the Outsiders’ eyes. It could kill, and she didn’t want to be a murderer tonight.

Finally arriving, she stepped out of her car. There were Dreams everywhere! She blinked. Then, blinked again. Her eyes started to roll back into her head, and she could feel the surge streaming now from her crown down to her feet, hiding neatly inside her red rain boots. 

In her room.

Someone painted her Brooklyn studio apartment bright orange-red! So, she knew the test had begun.

Should she attack? Chona could barely hold her head up, let alone break out into dance and song. She would just have to sleep it off, her phone continually buzzing that darn song. Then, like all the other times, she passed out. What remained Wide Awake in complete consciousness (forget Artha today) was her supple orange bucket bag. And within it, her project, slipping away…

How Ad Imagery Could Translate Into Product Packaging

The stack of magazines was impressive. Elle, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit and People. As a 13-year old, I just wanted to fixate and rip, fixate and rip, fixate and rip. Slowly, I was adding to my expanding wall collection, and I was proud. How were the ‘best’ images selected, and what made them ‘iconic’? What mattered to me at the time—creativity, originality, colour, composition—made it onto my closet doors, locker and school binder clear insert. If I could think of these images in my sleep, they became iconic. I will never forget one in particular. The triangular red and white logo juxtaposed against a black and white photograph of a girl pouting while a man anticipates… 

What intrigues us about this image? Almost instantly, we find ourselves peering in, linked to the experience. We sense she is in the wrong place; however, we do not feel that she does not belong or would rather be elsewhere. Time and space are interrupted. We ask ourselves, “Will it occur?” But the chain of events does not matter. What matters is that we are suspended in a rare and captivating moment. And because the image is black and white, we are transported to the exact scene where the ‘film’ unravels. Then the bold red of the typeface and the logo bring us back to life, and we are suddenly alive; the advertisement has won us over…without a guess!

If we know that people can impact an ad’s efficacy, should we consider using people on food packaging? Could we use the interaction between a man and a woman on a coffee bag, for example? In my opinion, yes. Imagine this. A tired corporate executive finds herself standing in a Whole Foods Market. There is no one around. Soft music flutters in and out of her ears. She is standing in the coffee aisle, looking at bags and bags and bags. There’s so much unique packaging, she’s not sure what to choose. But then she sees it—a couple set in black and white. The photograph is beautiful; the packaging seems bound by eternal love as the image wraps fully around the product. It portrays something the executive longs for on a deeper level. “I’ll go for this,” she thinks, grabbing it to pay.

Using people in ad imagery is not a new concept, but could potentially be an innovative idea in the food and beverage domain. We know that ads are geared to make us think and feel. And there’s a whole range of themes emotional ads can trigger, from love to empathy to excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent valuable time and money on a product that didn’t trigger an emotion somehow. Even if it may go unrecognized—the power and influence of an emotional experience are unforgettable.

Should packaging portray a feeling using images of people? And if so, what are the most effective ways this can be executed?

How Art on Food Packaging Affects Decision-Making

Oldhand Coffee

Koichi Kiyono

Process

Luna Coffee

AEM Code E-Book

I put together this e-book based on a 10-week blog series I ran for Agrilyze. It covers in great detail the specific requirements of the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management, which is a set of regulations implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in BC. I hope you enjoy it and as usual, let me know what you think!

5 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

In life, different is good. 

It’s about who we are and how we showcase ourselves to the world. 

In branding, it’s much the same. 

Although being different can be a challenge. 

Why?

We don’t want to clash with the norm. We want to be unique and memorable.

I came across an excellent article about brand differentiation and put together this quick presentation.

Let me know what you think!